The Fronsac wines

by Marta Burgués

Fronsac region is a relatively unknown area, located between the rivers Dordogne and l’Isle, next to Saint-Emilion and Pomerol, with an area of about 1,200 ha and a production of about 6 million bottles per year. With prices usually more affordable than most famous regions, it is able to offer excellent red wines, suitable for red and white meat (lamb, beef, pork), especially grilled, game birds, rabbit, or even desserts like pears in wine. It also pairs harmoniously with French cheeses such as Cantal, Comté, Maroilles, Reblochon, Saint-Nectaire or Langres, as well as the most typical Brie or Camembert.

Usually it has a dark red color and a fruity and soft flavor, yet complex, reminiscent of wood, berries, vanilla, spices and pepper. One of its main strengths, which perhaps is not yet known to the public, is its good aging potential. In recent years, the most remarkable vintages according to the experts are, in order of quality, 2005, 2003, 2000 and 1998 and -depending of course on proper conservation- may result in a great option if you are looking to provide a small personal cellar in a medium to long term, without spending a lot in products from regions sometimes overvalued compared to this modest French zone. In fact, some of the best wines of Fronsac will not reach their optimum consumption time until 10 or 15 years.

But the history of the wines of Fronsac is nowhere recent, since there are reports of the appreciation which, for example, Charlemagne had for them and, in fact, the region was more appreciated than its immediate neighboring Bordeaux areas, until it lost the favor of the public around the XIX century. In the 80s of XX century it began to popularize again, with the changing trends in the wine area, and in recent years they are again appreciated, considering both the clayey properties of the soil in which the main elaborating varieties grow (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec), as the effects of a climate somewhat special, with night frosts in spring and moderate summer temperatures.

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